An astounding number of fans, of Liverpool or other clubs, have been saying that this season's Premier League title is Liverpool's to lose.
It's a bizarrely popular idea and one that should probably be snuffed out before it goes any further. The first - and most obvious - reason against it is Luis Suarez's departure. The club's PR office might be breathing a sigh of relief to see the back of him, but he'll be seriously missed on the pitch. Directly involved in 43 goals last season, Suarez's departure means that both the finishers and creators at Anfield really need to stand up and be counted.
Brendan Rodgers has tried his best to strengthen the side going forward, with Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic arriving at Anfield in recent weeks, but neither of them are even close to Suarez's class.
He must be careful, though, that he doesn't repeat the mistakes of Tottenham, who last summer laid out a perfect 'How Not To Spend Your Huge Transfer Income' plan. With that in mind, Rodgers will know that splashing out on any player going - whether they fit into your system or not - is a recipe for disaster and disappointment.
It could be argued (and indeed has been, in many places) that Lallana was massively overpriced at £25million while Markovic is talented, but still largely unproven and is a big risk for £20million.
Another big problem for last season's runners up will be their defensive ranks, who had their worst season in recent memory, shipping over 50 goals. The signing of Emre Can will help a little, if he can sit just in front of the back four, but the team badly needs at least one new central defender.
No matter how good a side are going forward, it'll take something very special to win a title when your three main centre-backs are Kolo Toure, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho. Brendan Rodgers still has more than enough time to bring someone in and Dejan Lovren's signing is rumoured to be close at time of writing, but even Lovren won't strike fear into the hearts of too many top class attackers.
There's also the added complication of the Champions League to consider. A minimum of six extra matches will trouble a squad which struggled with depth last season. Rodgers has insisted that he isn't looking to buy a striker to replace Luis Suarez, which means that the pressure's going to be on Daniel Sturridge to lead the line in every game.
Putting aside whether or not Sturridge has the ability to perform that role as well as his manager and fans would like and putting aside the physical aspect (let's face it, he'll be absolutely knackered by March), it's a big burden to take on mentally. For a man who's never been the attacking focal point of a team for more than a few games, it'll be interesting to see how he deals with the pressure.
Mental fortitude will be a subject that follows the red half of Merseyside for much of next season, whether on an individual level with Sturridge, or on a team-wide level, as this doesn't seem to be a Liverpool side that deals well with pressure.
Last season they came in under the radar, with very few people talking them up as title contenders until relatively late in the season. When they finally bashed the door down and sat atop the Premier League table, the players seemed to see everyone looking at them, panicked and promptly fell.
This season they won't be afforded the luxury that they went into the previous campaign with. People will be watching them, expecting a good season and another title challenge. If their previous reactions to pressure are anything to go by, those people might be disappointed.
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